Lenovo ThinkPad Edge 13 review

£469
Price when reviewed

Lenovo’s ThinkPads have long been synonymous with seriousness and practicality, but the latest addition to the range dares to buck the monochromatic trend. The bold, “heatwave” red version of the ThinkPad Edge 13 will have ThinkPad purists choking on their coffee.

A glance at the price will be enough to put the smile back on anyone’s face, however, as will a quick play with the device. It’s the firm’s most practical and sensible foray yet into the realms of the affordable ultraportable. It weighs a very reasonable 1.77kg, and the build suggests a laptop that’s genuinely been designed to survive a life on the road.

The base is reassuringly stiff and solid, and while the lid won’t win any awards for its slimline allure – one cruel member of PC Pro remarked that it looked rather like a cafeteria tea tray – we had to really prod at it before it caused any showthrough on the display itself. Some will take exception to the red lid of our review model, but it’s possible to opt for a slinky gloss black or sober matte black model instead.

The Scrabble-tile keyboard looks nigh-on identical to that of the superb ThinkPad X100e, and in use it feels just as good to type on. The keys have a wonderfully crisp action, each one bounding back to its original position ready for the next keystroke, and the layout borders on perfection. The trackpad and trackpoint combination is as good as ever, with a huge, wide trackpad making the most of the extra space on offer.

Lenovo ThinkPad Edge 13 keyboard

The model we received for review (part code: NUE6WUK) is powered by an AMD Turion Neo X2 L625. Although you can specify the Edge 13 with an Intel processor, the 1.6GHz dual-core CPU here (coupled with 4GB of memory) is more than enough to keep Windows 7 Professional 64-bit running smoothly. A result of 0.71 in our application-based benchmarks puts it on level pegging with Intel’s efforts, and the ATI HD 3200 graphics chipset even has enough oomph to cope with HD video playback and light gaming.

One thing we noticed during the course of our testing, though, is that the base of the laptop, just like the X100e, has a tendency to get rather toasty. Performance isn’t an issue for the AMD processor but keeping cool certainly is; the noisy cooling fan spins with annoying regularity.

Warranty

Warranty 1 yr return to base

Physical specifications

Dimensions 322 x 228 x 25mm (WDH)
Weight 1.770kg
Travelling weight 2.2kg

Processor and memory

Processor AMD Turion Neo X2 L625
Motherboard chipset AMD 780G
RAM capacity 4.00GB
Memory type DDR2
SODIMM sockets free 0
SODIMM sockets total 2

Screen and video

Screen size 13.3in
Resolution screen horizontal 1,366
Resolution screen vertical 768
Resolution 1366 x 768
Graphics chipset ATI Radeon HD 3200
Graphics card RAM 256MB
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 1
HDMI outputs 1
S-Video outputs 0
DVI-I outputs 0
DVI-D outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 0

Drives

Capacity 320GB
Hard disk usable capacity 299GB
Spindle speed 5,400RPM
Internal disk interface SATA/300
Hard disk Fujitsu MJA2320BH
Optical disc technology none
Optical drive none
Battery capacity 6,300mAh
Replacement battery price inc VAT £0

Networking

Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec
802.11a support no
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes
Integrated 3G adapter no
Bluetooth support yes

Other Features

Wireless hardware on/off switch no
Wireless key-combination switch yes
Modem no
ExpressCard34 slots 0
ExpressCard54 slots 0
PC Card slots 0
USB ports (downstream) 3
PS/2 mouse port no
9-pin serial ports 0
Parallel ports 0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports 0
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports 0
3.5mm audio jacks 1
SD card reader yes
Memory Stick reader yes
MMC (multimedia card) reader no
Smart Media reader no
Compact Flash reader no
xD-card reader no
Pointing device type Touchpad, trackpoint
Audio chipset Conexant SmartAudio HD
Speaker location Front edge
Hardware volume control? no
Integrated microphone? yes
Integrated webcam? yes
Camera megapixel rating 0.3mp
TPM no
Fingerprint reader no
Smartcard reader no
Carry case no

Battery and performance tests

Battery life, light use 5hr 59min
Overall application benchmark score 0.71
Office application benchmark score 0.72
2D graphics application benchmark score 0.79
Encoding application benchmark score 0.63
Multitasking application benchmark score 0.70
3D performance (crysis) low settings 14fps
3D performance setting Low

Operating system and software

Operating system Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
OS family Windows 7
Recovery method Recovery partition, burn own recovery discs
Software supplied Lenovo ThinkVantage Suite

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